Gullit puts Newcastle on the spot

Football: Newcastle United 2 Chelsea 2 (aet; Chelsea win 4-2 on pens)
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Newcastle United 2 Chelsea 2 (aet; Chelsea win 4-2 on pens)

Chelsea earned the right to a fourth-round trip to Queen's Park Rangers after a penalty shoot-out as Newcastle followed their Coca-Cola Cup exit by stumbling out of the FA Cup at the end of two terrific hours of cut and thrust at St James Park last night.

Peter Beardsley hit the bar with Newcastle's first penalty and the second, by Steve Watson, was saved by Kevin Hitchcock. Although John Beresford and Philippe Albert were successful, David Lee, Dennis Wise, Gavin Peacock and Eddie Newton all scored to give Chelsea victory.

Down to 10 men for almost an hour following the dismissal of Darren Peacock, the Premier League leaders were twice pegged back with Ruud Gullit's 88th- minute equaliser sending a stirring third-round replay into extra time. Given the undue lateness of Newcastle's equaliser at Stamford Bridge, the Dutchman's strike possessed a certain irony.

Newcastle went into the re-match needing another victory at St James Park to equal a 69-year-old record of 14 straight home wins in League and Cup, dating back to their last championship success of 1927.

Chelsea already featured on this year's hit list, having fallen to two Les Ferdinand goals in September, and it was only due to the striker's spot of overtime in the first meeting that they were forced to make another trek north. Dimitri Kharin, whose fluffed goal-kick had given the Magpies the chance to squirm off the hook, was missing with a groin strain.

Having waited so long to make his contribution at Chelsea 10 days earlier, Ferdinand might have given Newcastle the lead after only eight minutes. Warren Barton's diagonal ball eluded both Hitchcock and Michael Duberry, but the centre-forward stumbled as he rounded the pair and the opportunity was scorned.

Chelsea, though, were by no means content to sit back and Gullit, inevitably, was at the hub of their every move, the Dutch master majestic in midfield.

However, he would have been left in no doubt as to the passion the old competition generates when Newcastle moved in front three minutes from the interval. Lee's trip on the advancing Ferdinand brought a yellow card and only temporary respite as Albert's free-kick was deflected in off Wise with Hitchcock hopelessly stranded.

The second period opened with a flurry of activity. Kevin Myers could consider himself fortunate that the referee, Stephen Lodge, should decide that the body-check on Ferdinand was punishable merely by a booking for obstruction. Within three minutes Myers was off anyway, this time on a stretcher, clutching his leg after a mid-air tangle with Newcastle's leading scorer.

Peacock was soon to follow him down the tunnel. The Newcastle centre- half's sliding tackle on John Spencer, 12 yards from the target, may have been worth a red card on its own but a first-half caution for dissent meant he had to go, regardless.

Wise promptly drove home the penalty to pull Chelsea level by the 61st minute, but they were still coming to terms with their numerical superiority when they found themselves trailing once again. Lee's unnecessary nudge from behind sent Paul Kitson sprawling at the near post and Peter Beardsley obliged from the spot with his first goal for two months.

They looked like succeeding, too, until the 88th minute when Gullit seized on Spencer's cross to send the tie into extra time.

Newcastle (4-4-2): Srnicek; Barton, Albert, D Peacock, Beresford; Watson, Beardsley, L Clark, Ginola; Kitson (Elliott, 87), Ferdinand (Huckerby, 64). Substitute not used: Holland.

Chelsea (5-3-1-1): Hitchcock; Petrescu, Duberry, Lee, Myers (S Clark, 52), Phelan; Wise, Gullit, Newton; Spencer (G Peacock, 102); Hughes. Substitute not used: Furlong.

Referee: Stephen Lodge (Barnsley).

More reports and results, page 23

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